Tag Archive | happiness

Open Letter to “Normals:” Please Read

understanding quote

I came across this letter posted on another blog.  It was originally written to help understand what people with Fibromyalgia live with.  But it is pertinent to all the patients who are and family member of the chronically, “invisibly” ill. So I tweaked it a little. And would be forever grateful if you took a moment to read it (and share it)!

Open Letter To Normals,

These are the things that I would like you to understand about me before you judge me…

Please understand that being sick doesn’t mean I’m not still a human being.  I may have to spend most of my day flat on my back in bed or on the couch in jammies, and I might not seem like great company, but I’m still me stuck inside this body.  I still worry about school and work and my family and friends, and most of the time I’d still like to hear you talk about yours too.

Please understand the difference between “happy” and “healthy.”

When you’ve got the flu you probably feel miserable with it, but I’ve been sick for years. I can’t be miserable all the time, in fact I work hard at not being miserable. So if you’re talking to me and I sound happy, it means…  I’m happy. That’s all. I may be tired. I may be in pain. I may be sicker than ever.  Please, don’t say, “Oh, you’re sounding better!”  I am not sounding better, I am sounding happy. If you want to comment on that, you’re welcome. Happy ≠Healthy.

The same goes for “looking good.”  If I have the energy to, I like to put on a little make-up and a favorite sweater, maybe even curl my hair.  But looking good does not always equate to feeling good.  That’s why they are called Invisible Illnesses.  Looks can be very deceiving!

It is okay to say, “You sound happy today.”  Or, “I know you may not feel well, but you sure look pretty today!”

Please understand that being able to stand up for five minutes, doesn’t necessarily mean that I can stand up for ten minutes, or an hour. It’s quite likely that doing those five minutes has exhausted my resources and I’ll need to recover – imagine an athlete after a race. They couldn’t repeat that feat right away either. With a lot of diseases you’re either paralyzed or you can move. With this one it gets more confusing.

Please repeat the above paragraph substituting,
“sitting up”,
“walking”,
“thinking”,
“being sociable”
and so on  …. it applies to everything.

That’s what a fatigue-based illness does to you.

Please understand that chronic illnesses are variable. It’s quite possible (for me, it’s common) that one day I am able to walk to the park and back, while the next day I’ll have trouble getting to the bathroom.  Please don’t attack me when I’m ill by saying, But you did it before! There is no formula to follow with my disease.  If I have the energy on one day, I will seize the opportunity and engage in the next present activity.  Just as likely (or even more so), I will get up with the intention of following-through on a plan, only to discover I am utterly exhausted after just getting dressed and will have to lie down.

If you want me to do something, ask if I can and I’ll tell you. In a similar vein, I may need to cancel an invitation at the last minute. If this happens please don’t take it personally (I’m just as sad and upset about it as you!).  I still like to be asked, even if I have to bow out.  It’s hard to have a chronic illness and to be excluded from events because you don’t want to make me “feel bad.”

Please understand that “getting out and doing things” does not make me feel better, and can often make me seriously worse.  Chronic Illnesses like Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Arthritis, M.S., Polychondritis (me!) and Abdominal Conditions, may cause secondary depression (wouldn’t you get depressed if you were stuck in bed for years on end!?) but it is not caused by depression. Telling me that I need some fresh air and exercise is not helpful and truthfully, incorrect – if I could do it, I would. And please understand that if I say I have to sit down / lie down / take these pills now, that I do have to do it right now – it can’t be put off or forgotten just because I’m doing something.

Chronic, Invisible Illnesses do not forgive.

Please recognize that I can’t spend all of my energy trying to get well. With a short-term illness like the flu, you can afford to put life on hold for a week or two while you get well. But part of having a chronic illness is coming to the realization that you have to spend some energy on having a life now. This doesn’t mean I’m not trying to get better. It doesn’t mean I’ve given up. It’s just how life is when you’re dealing with a chronic illness.

If you want to suggest a cure to me, please don’t. It’s not because I don’t appreciate the thought, and it’s not because I don’t want to get well. It’s because I have had almost every single one of my friends or family members (or friends of friends, for that matter!)  make a suggest at one point or another. At first, I tried them all.  But then I realized I was using up so much energy trying a myriad of treatments and “cures” that I was making myself sicker, not better. If there was something that cured, or even helped, people with Fibro, CFS and all the other “invisible illnesses,” we’d know about it.  This is not a drug-company conspiracy. There is a worldwide network (both on and off the internet) between people with chronic, invisible illnesses, and whenever there is a new, valid treatment option available, we already know about it (mind you, they are far and few between).

We’ve had to find acceptance in the frustrating fact that medicine has not caught up with the growing cases of autoimmune illnesses. The best support you can give us is to accept this fact yourself.  To accept us as we are, not as you would want us to be.

If after reading this, you still want to suggest a cure, then do it, but preferably in writing.  Please don’t expect me to  rush out and try it. If I haven’t had it suggested before, I’ll take what you said and discuss it with my doctor. Please understand that getting better from an illness like this can be painstakingly slow. (pun intended!)

People with Autoimmune Illnesses have so many systems in their bodies out of equilibrium, and functioning wrongly, that it may take a long time to sort everything out. Our bodies are literally attacking themselves and there is no pattern that doctors or patients follow.  Each of our cases is unique and varied.

Don’t misunderstand me, I depend on you – people who are not sick – for many things.  But most importantly, I need you to understand me.

Thank you for your compassion,

The Invisibly Ill

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The Gift of Illness: A Re-Invention of Self

"See simplicity in the complicated Achieve greatness in little things." {Lao-Tzu}

“See simplicity in the complicated
Achieve greatness in little things.”
{Lao-Tzu}

There are two ways I can look at my illness: 1. “It was the end of my world” or 2. “It was the start of a Brave New World.”  Today, I choose option #2.  The option of Hope, hope for a new world, a new beginning.  I am in no way trying to profess that this was an easy choice!  I lived with both perspectives and took time before making a final decision.  I don’t think I would be in the place of peace I am today if I hadn’t lived with both the Paths of Despair and of Hope.My hope lies in the recognition of an opportunity to reinvent my life. 

I can actually have gratitude for my chronic illness today (imagine that!).  Because when I look objectively at my life “in the now,” I have been afforded opportunities to discover and develop parts of myself I didn’t even know existed before.  In saying “before,” I mean the time before my autoimmune disease (Polychondritis, Fibromyalgia, Migraine, Chron’s) stopped me from working, and let’s be honest, engaging in most of my previous activities.  In this “T.B.,” I was a Type-A, “go, go, go girl!” I was (egotistically) proud of my ability to multitask and juggle all parts of my life, during all parts of my day.  No breaks! Believing all that “idle hands make idle minds” crap. I mean, really, what was I constantly rushing around for?  Sure I received accolades and “atta girls” from all facets of my life.  But, in the end they were just words; words with no real meaning because they didn’t originate from within me.

Lately I’ve begun to look at this change in my life differently…

I’ve started to celebrate the fact that I was given the gift of reinventing myself!  I look around and see most people on the same path for 40+ years of their adulthood.  And many are content with their journey. But few, too, are afforded the luxury of stepping off the established path and taking side-trails until they re-discover a new route that fits for the next phase of their life.  Luxury?  How can I call chronic-illness a luxury?!  Well, for as much as it has taken away from me (which is plenty!) it has returned, just in different forms than I was used to.  It would be (and has been) easy for me to overlook these new “gifts” ahead of me because I am spending my time looking back at all the things that have been stolen from my life, on a constant hunt to retrieve that which has been lost.  It’s not atypical to be stuck on what once was and is now gone; because trusting in an unknown future is a far scarier prospect.  But this approach only caused me constant emotional pain, regret, sadness, and emptiness.

Then, one day, I decided to look forward. I picked up one of these “new gifts” lying in my (new) path and opened it.  Inside I discovered an opportunity to awaken my inner artist.  It came in the form of a night nurse who suggested I begin beading to pass the time during my lengthy hospital stays.  I was quickly hooked, finding this quiet, meditative activity deeply soothing to my mind and pain fluctuations.  In a short time, I was selling my creations out of my “hospital room storefront” (no joke!) to all the staff.  This first step on this Road to Artist boosted my confidence and helped me to feel productive again.  The best gift was the positive energy I gained and shared with the influx of visitors coming in and out of my room, nurturing my own Soul Beacon of Hope.

After veering off what I thought was going to be “My Path for Life,” which I blamed my illness for taking from me, I realized the first step was the hardest.  I’ve taken many breaks along this new way, some chosen by me and some chosen for me by my ailing body.  But when I reflect on the anguish I first felt at “losing” all the things I thought made me “me” and then I fast forward 7 years to today, I discover that I am now an artist, a writer, a truly present friend and wife, a seeker of peace, a role-model of hope and acceptance, and a Survivor!  I started to look at all things I’ve gained.  No, none of those things would be placed on a resume.  But for me they are far greater accomplishments than all of my professional and schooling achievements.  They are my re-invention of self!

Just the other day, in the midst of painting, my husband commented, “You know, in a strange way, you getting sick was a blessing.  You would never have become the artist you are today if you had continued to be so consumed with work.”  And he’s right!  It used to be hard for me to recognize that a blessing of this magnitude could arise from such severe, sudden illness.  Oh, I’ve always had a hopeful heart and been able to recognize small, daily gifts of gratitude, from a helpful friend to a stunning sunset.  But, again, this was gratitude for all the things outside of me.  To have gratitude for what’s within me?. . . now that’s a truly miraculous discovery!

I was able to pursue a solid career in early childhood education for 15 years.  Now, I am on Re-Invention Phase Two: becoming both a Creative Person and a Beacon of Hope for others. Herein lays the miracle: I can reinvent myself again at any time! It may be self-directed or Universe-directed, but either way, I am staying open to the change. And am embracing the NOW… where I can truly find gratitude in being sick!

Battling The Post-Vacation Blues (and a few odd bruises too!)

hammock-8

Why does the first day after returning from vacation hit like a ton of bricks?  All the physical reserves of energy and stamina I greedily tapped into are now depleted and I feel every ounce of my chronic pain rearing its ugly head at me; mocking me with an “I told you so.”  I’m now walking around like a bleary eyed, stiffed limbed tin-woman, marveling at the marked change between how I felt just yesterday with today.   Parts of me I didn’t even know could experience pain do so anyway, like the tip of my tongue. How crazy is that?

Not to mention the emotional let-down that occurs following such a satisfying event.  Mid-way through vacation, I find myself cheerfully commenting to my hubby, “Why, we still have half of our vacation left! It’s already felt so long and satisfying. I can’t imagine wanting more!”  Ha! Famous last words.  Then the second half goes by twice as fast as the first and by the time we’ve reached our final day at hyper-speed, I am digging in my claws; determined to hold on to the fading remnants of this break from reality.  We even start the “bargaining process”: “Well, maybe we can rearrange things so that we can stay just one… more… day.”  But, let’s face it, one more day is never enough!

There is just no way of avoiding the dreaded Post-Vacation Blues!

There is something magical that can happen on a vacation.  It truly can be a break from reality for me; the reality of my illness, my pain, my lack of abilities, . . .  I’m not saying I feel no pain on vacation, it’s more like I can take that pain and put it in a little satchel I carry with me.  It’s always there, but I’m no longer wearing it like a cloak.  This was one of those blessed times.  We spent a week at the place I reverently call my “Sacred Space.” It’s a family cottage that we have spent many a time at over the last 21 years and it is the place I let my soul travel to during meditations.  So it’s not surprising that it acts like a healing tonic to cure that which ails me! This phenomenon hasn’t always happened to me, but when it does I want to fight tooth and nail to keep it going.  But, alas, even fairy tales have to end at some point.

So why can’t I just feel satisfied with this gift I received?   There have been (many) times I have not been able to fully enjoy a vacation: either feeling too sick or in pain to fully engage in it or, even more distressing, being rushed to some remote hospital for an emergency situation. We used to joke that most people research “points of interest” before going to an unknown vacation locale, while we would research hospital and urgent care locations.  Humor is sometimes the best defense, right?  Then there have been those times I wish I could erase from our history.  Times trips were planned and had to be cancelled because the doctors told me it was too risky for me to travel.  This includes a trip to the Riviera Maya in Mexico to renew our vows on our 7th wedding anniversary.

Put in this context, I am willing to sacrifice days after my vacation for the days of respite and renewal I experienced while on vacation.  And although I did “over-do it” (hard not to with physical limitations such as mine!), I did make conscious choices to keep my activities within my reach.  Most of our days were spent sitting water side, drinking in the sun’s Vitamin D, reading, painting, playing games and musical instruments.  It’s a little depressing to think that these mild activities wiped me out.  That today, in reaction to a week of this, I am swollen, stiff and sore!  Not to mention the strange bruises that have bloomed across my body! But the fact that I sustained daily activities for 7 days is truly a miracle.

And the biggest blessing of all?  This time, on our 14th wedding anniversary, we did renew our vows (a promise we made to each other when we married on the date of our 7th year dating anniversary… to recommit our love to each other every 7 years thereafter).  It wasn’t barefoot on a beach in an exotic locale.  But in its quiet way, it was more intimate and allowed us to freely share our love that has come and is yet to be.  We sat by the Great Lake Ontario, which in this location looks as mighty as any ocean, and read all parts of the ceremony we wrote together.  We were in awe of the words we had chosen then, so many prophetic of the challenging times that were yet to come.  I was able to express to my husband how truly grateful I am for his support, love and encouragement in difficult times and in joyous times.  I thanked him for always choosing to run towards me instead of away.  All of this was exchanged, outside, our bare feet on Mother Earth with the sounds of the waves and steel drums in the back ground (a recording of the steel drum band we had perform at our wedding- the best gift we every gave to ourselves).

It’s no wonder I never wanted this vacation to end!  There is a re-connection that happens in times like these that rarely happens in the daily hustle of life; a reconnection to each other, to our own selves and to nature.  I got in touch with my intuitive voice, heard loud and clear without the interruptions of traffic, obligations, ringing phones (another unique gift: no internet or cell service to be found!).  It’s a rare treat to be cut off from the outside world for a week.  To have a break from the incessant worries chronic illness brings. So what if I’m having trouble walking today!  I have a lot to show for this “price of admission.”  (read HERE).  And, going forward, I plan on trying to weave threads of vacation-ease into my daily living.

Whoa! I’m WAY Off “Schedule!”

I always underestimate the time it will take me to complete a task. I’ll use the tricky formula of “time it should take me to complete in current state” – “time it used to take me in healthy state” + “time it takes the average person” = Project DoneYeah, right!  I forget to take that total and then multiply it times 3, 4, even 5, depending on my physical state, the weather, distractions, you get the picture! 

Yet, no matter how many times I plop down on the couch frustrated after a day of concentrated effort that has produced minimal results, I still hope for something different the next time.  And, that’s the key really; it’s not that I am ignorant to the current state of my physical (un)well-being.  It’s that I am always hopeful for the day when my body surpasses past abilities and surprises me with its wellness!  That’s not such bad thing, to have perpetual hope.  But, sometimes this “Pollyanna approach” gets me into trouble, because I end up physically depleted after pushing myself too hard, going beyond the limits of my chronically ill body.

But, today I want to stay in celebration mode!  Because even though what would have taken an able-bodied person ½ a day to complete has taken me 3 ½ days (rest breaks included, of course), I am feeling enormously proud of myself for seeing this particular project to completion.  What “project,” you ask?  I have finally gotten some of my art pieces and jewelry creations up on Etsy!  This is huge for me!  I decided to showcase my recent beach glass and stone creations.  You know, the ones I found when I followed my intuition (read HERE) and Mother Nature blessed us on that beautiful beach day? Not only do I think they contain all the energy and warmth of summer; the lake stones are stunning reminders of the glaciers that carved out this landscape, called Home.  I’ve also posted some of my art (as you can tell, Nature is my muse!).

After spending significant time in the creation process (not included in the 3 ½ day declaration!), I am exhausted and typically peeter out at this stage.  I’ll hold on to my cache until I have another sale.  But there are always those people who ask about a website for browsing and purchasing.  I will puff out my chest and say, “Why, yes, I do have such a webstore, through Etsy!  Here let me give me you a card. Just give me a week or two post-sale before you check it, okay?”  And the customer leaves clutching their card, awaiting this marvelous store that I have so openly boasted about.

I’m sure those of you struggling with chronic pain, illness, or even just good ol’ procrastination can relate to what typically happens next… A sale will physically drain me for weeks (another one of those “underestimation situations”).  By the time I’ve recovered, I feel chagrined that my verbally promised timeline has come and long gone.  I may try to start the process.  But somewhere along the way I lose steam.  Always thinking, “I’ll have more energy tomorrow.”  Famous last words!

Well, this time I did it differently…

  • I stopped myself before making any verbal promises.  Because once a promissory statement has left my lips, the pressure is on!  All that this (mostly internal) pressure creates is a crushing sense of shame; shame over my illness and inability to perform what are seemingly simple tasks.  I’m sure if my customers knew what a struggle this is for me physically they wouldn’t have any qualms about it.  But do I let them in? Nope.  Back to the “well, she looks okay on the outside.  So, she must be okay, right?”
  • I gave myself plenty of breathing room and recovery time before even trying to attempt re-creating my Etsy site.  And I chose to tackle this project on week I did not have a lot of other obligations (I.E.: doctor’s appointments!).
  • I was gentle with myself when it took longer than expected.  I took rest breaks in between each step and broke it up over days.  This was the luxury I gained by not putting myself under a deadline!

I was reminded how much goes into selling items online.  I am in awe of those who do it on a consistent basis, especially those I’ve come to meet through WordPress whom blog and create and sell. Miraculous!

The creation process alone is taxing, but it is also extremely rewarding.  It is meditative and takes my mind off the pain.  The rest of it is just a pain in the butt: taking several photos of each item (including setting up creative, attractive backdrops, lighting, etc.); editing each image; uploading them to the site and then making necessary adjustments (sometimes back to re-photo); completing an inventory form for each item separately; then it’s on to writing an appealing description; pricing; posting; oh, and, of course, advertising so that your customers know to go look!  There are parts of the process I enjoy but it all gets tedious after a while. And it’s crazy the ways my body will find to revolt against the project!  From a stiff sore back after a photo session to swollen, sausage fingers from typing too much, I make sure to have a constant rotation of ice packs in the freezer!

But the bottom line is…  I am excited and proud of my accomplishment!  My “stick-to-itness” even in the face of multiple physical hurdles! I am holding happiness in this moment.  Because my mind wants to go to all the items I have yet to post, and I keep bringing it back to the here and now.  In the here and now, I have a finished product to show and share.  And that’s something to smile about!

(NOTE: The above picture collages highlight some of the items for sale.  Interested in seeing more? Click HERE.)

Embrace the Journey, Not the Destination

forest pathThe Journey is Your Future… Your Have Already Arrived

So often we have our eyes firmly affixed on the “prize.”  We spend hours, days even, imagining what it will look like, what it will feel like, what it will be like to achieve whatever goal is in our future.   The goal becomes the sole destination:  Welcome to “Pie in the Sky,” U.S.A! 

Yet, what truly happens when we focus all of our energy, thoughts and actions on reaching for this, many times elusive, destination?  We completely lose sight of the journey unfolding right in front of us; blossoming and growing with each step and action we take.  We get so focused on the product of all our hard work, that we can feel depressed by the end result. 

We try to manipulate our lives, our surroundings, people, time; anything that will hopefully contribute to a satisfactory outcome.  We can over analyze ever aspect: if only I had done x, y and z, it would have been better!   We can live in fear of what may happen; setting up contingency plans for all the “possible” outcomes: if A happens, then I’ll do B; but if C happens, I’ll do a combination of B and E; and if P happens, then…  We may feel shame over what happens; falling into the mental trap of the “should ofs,” the “could ofs” and the “wish I hads.”

But what if we decide to do differently?  To stop right now.  Try and focus solely on what is in front of you at this very moment.  So, you’re reading my blog.  Embrace it.  Don’t think about what you’re going to do next, how this blog will serve you in your future, how you would have written it differently, etc.  Just embrace each word and let them settle into your mind and spirit in whatever way they may.

Our one true purpose on this earth is to go with the flow of the process of living… fully: to be completely in the now.  This is what brings true peace.  For most of my life, I spent (and wasted) so much time thinking about the future.  I was always waiting for the other shoe drop, and when it did, I was determined to be prepared!  Then I couldn’t get hurt, right?  Then I would avoid fear and uncomfortable situations.  Then I would I have the power and be in control of my own destiny.  But no one knows their own destiny.  None of us have control over the outcome.

Our futures are already written in the stars!

And instead of feeling a sense over loss over this, look at this as the greatest gift of all.  The gift of freedom.  The gift of letting go.  Permission granted to just live your life and be.

And if this is the case, then why do we expend so much energy trying to manipulate the future?  For me, it started way back in childhood, when I thought my “little self” had the power to make my dad angry or to keep him calm.  So I tipped toed around and tried to constantly be on guard for whatever the future would bring.  And I kept on tip-toeing right into my adulthood.  I measured my actions and behaviors to the people around me, thinking I knew what their reactions were going to be.  I prepared myself for whatever next health challenge would come my way.  I had contingency plans for every “possible” scenario (emphasis on possible!).  I was armed for anything; I was a Girl Scout, after all!

But, all this created was an internal state of constant anxiety.  And when you’re anxious, there is no way to just be… in the moment or with yourself.   Then I was blessed with being shown a different way of living and I decided to do differently.  This has changed my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined!  I now feel truly at peace.  I don’t have to worry about the future, that’s already taken care of.  For me, I know the loving energy of the Universe is guiding me in the direction I am meant to go.  For, you, it may be trust in God’s hands.  Just as long as you believe in some power or force greater than your own.  It’s called “turning your will over.”  When we hold onto to our will, we make ourselves into God.  We think we can control the outcomes, the end product of our hard work.  That’s exhausting!

I read recently that you can think of the word “will” as “faith.”  And in that context, if you think of the phrase “Thy will be done,” it is now transformed into “They faith be done.”  Let go… have faith.  Your life will turn out exactly as it is meant to be.  Stop keeping your eyes on the prize, and instead realize you’ve already received the prize. The gift of life is right here, right now, unfolding before your very eyes.  Each step you take on your journey presents you with an opportunity to be fully present (hmm…sounds a lot like “gift,” doesn’t it?). 

Once you take your foot off the pedal and turn on the cruise control, you are still moving in a forward direction, heading to your life’s goals.  But you can now enjoy the scenery as you drive past it, be focused on the conversation that is occurring with your loved one right in that moment, feel the energy of the radio’s music pouring into your soul.  You are now completely embracing the JOURNEY.

You’re alive… believe in that.  Let go of the idea that the path will lead you to your goal.  The truth is that with each step we take, we arrive.  Repeat that to yourself every morning:

I’ve arrived.

(Excerpt from The Witch of Portabello, by Paula Coehlo)

Let Your Inner Freedom Ring!

On this Independence Day, I am choosing to celebrate myself, my gifts, my strengths, and the freedom from the tyranny of my own tangled thoughts . . .

  •  I do what I want to do, not what I think I “should be doing.”  If I want to paint, I paint! If I’m tired, I nap!  If a friend calls for an impromptu lunch, and I am physically able, I go!
  • I no longer pretend to be “okay” just to make others feel better.  I know my illness can make others uncomfortable (no one wants to see a loved one hurting) but if I’m in pain, I say so.  To thine own body be true!
  • I communicate my own wants and needs.  I no longer hope others will “magically guess” what I need in any given moment.  If I don’t know how to express what I want, how are others supposed to figure it out?
  •   I advocate for my own well-beingIf a doctor isn’t fully listening or fully engaged in my care, I find a new one.
  • I am flexible and adaptable!
  • I choose to always find some glimmer of positive even in the most dire of circumstances.
  • I choose gratitude over “grumpitude!”
  •  After being given a 10% chance of surviving the night, and waking (alive!) on the morning of 3/20/07… I never, ever take a day of life for granted!
  •   I am the annoying friend who is always stopping mid-sentence to point out a rainbow,the way the clouds capture the light just so, a hawk sitting roadside,… and I love this about myself!
  • I live fully in the moment and encourage others to do the same.
  • I have a deep understanding and empathy for those going through life’s challenges.
  • I value the friendships in my life and am a good friend and confidante in return.
  • I take risks because why shouldn’t I?  This may be the only chance I have to experience something new and I don’t want to miss out on a single opportunity.
  • I don’t know how I’ll feel tomorrow, so I live in the Today.
  • I don’t wait to do things on my Bucket List!
  • I don’t shy away from an activity or trip, even if special arrangements need to be made to accommodate my “unique needs.”
  • I have an inner strength and will to live that I am deeply proud of!
  • I walk tall… celebrating the Goddess within me!
  • I find purpose in spreading HOPE to others.
  • I love to laugh and find keeping a smile on my face makes everything a little brighter!
  • I am a Survivor! (every scar is a roadmap, outlining my remarkable journey to live!)
  • My life is never dull!  And that’s pretty, darn cool (not many have such a complex “life story” at such a young age)!
  • I don’t take my anger or sadness out on others!
  • I am a constantly evolving woman… I keep re-inventing myself!
  • Just like our forebearers, I take a chance on living a life that may be difficult and tiresome… The rewards of living life in any way are worth the sacrifices!
  • I love watching fireworks! And even if I am too unwell to see them in person, I can always catch a good show on T.V. (Go Boston Pops!)
  • I am grateful to be alive today, to celebrate the FREEDOM that we all deserve!